Explore our content

All types | All dates | All authors
Mark Kirk

Pages

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:45pm
Fri Jun 7, 2013

House Amendment Could Lead To Deportation of DREAMers, Immigrant Advocates Say

The U.S. House passed an amendment Thursday that looks to cut off funding necessary for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications.

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is the main sponsor of the amendment, which would be attached to the larger 2014 Department of Homeland Security spending bill. 

The amendment passed the full House by a 224-201 vote. No Illinois House Republicans voted against the measure.

Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), said King "is probably the most anti-immigrant congressman in the country."

"For people to align themselves with him and his drastic view on immigration, particularly in a time when Republicans simply just need to remember what happened last November, they are going to be an extinct party if they continue with this level of anti-immigrant behavior," he stressed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
8:14pm
Mon Jun 3, 2013

New Report Highlights Need To Reform The Farm Bill's Sugar Program

Changes made to the federal sugar program in the 2008 farm bill have caused sugar prices to spike to record levels, which hurts businesses, manufacturers and consumers, a new report from the food and agriculture consulting company Agralytica shows.

Extra consumer costs due to the 2008 farm bill have tallied about $3.7 billion each year, according to the report (PDF) released Monday. Currently, sugar prices in the United States are about 46 cents per pound, which is higher than 28 cents per pound under the 2002 farm bill.

Sugar producers in the United States and Mexico have responded to the high prices in the U.S. market by expanding sugar production by 20 percent to 25 percent, said Agralytica’s Vice President Tom Earley.

The 2008 changes have made “a bad program even worse and have destabilized the U.S. sugar market,” said Earley, who is also an agricultural economist and trade policy specialist.

“Now we have too much sugar that’s driving prices down that’s going to result in significant costs for the government,” he explained.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:54am
Wed May 29, 2013

Undocumented Military Students Call For Immigration Reform: 'All I Want To Do Is Serve This Country' (VIDEO)

Alejandro Morales has dreams of becoming the Marines’ first Latino commandant. But, having been carried across the border at only seven months old, Morales is an undocumented immigrant and thus cannot enlist in the military.

“I grew up here this is all I know, I’m Mexican and I’m proud of that, but I’m also an American,” said the 19 year-old graduate of Chicago’s Marine Military Math and Science Academy

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:56pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Senate Votes Down Amendment To Reform 'Outdated' Sugar Program In Farm Bill

Reforming the sugar program in the nation's farm bill would make U.S. manufacturers more competitive and reduce prices for consumers, said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-sponsor of an amendment to revamp the system.

The amendment, S. 345, did not seek to eliminate the program. Instead, it aimed to reform restrictions on imports as well as subsidies for sugar growers, along with other changes. But the Senate rejected the amendment by a 45-54 vote Wednesday.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the need to protect America’s sugar farmers, but what we haven’t heard is that sugar remains the most tightly controlled commodity market in this country,” Shaheen said during floor discussion in the Senate Wednesday. “We currently have an outdated ... program that offers a sweet deal to a small group of sugar growers and processors at the expense of too many other American businesses and at the expense of American consumers.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:47pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Unite Here Workers Oppose Pritzker Nomination For Commerce Secretary

Senate confirmation hearings for Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker’s nomination for U.S. Secretary of Commerce are scheduled for Thursday, but workers from the her family-owned hotel chain are already voicing their opposition to the selection.

“This is not somebody we want in Washington; this is a lady whose business model hurts workers,” said Demetrius Jackson, 25, a lifelong Chicagoan and convention service houseman at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for six years.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:17pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Report: Chicago Homeowners Lost $3.1 Billion In Wealth Last Year, Communities Of Color Hit The Hardest

The city of Chicago lost more than $3.1 billion in wealth, or about $2,900 per household, in 2012 as a result of the foreclosure crisis, according to a new report from the Alliance for a Just Society.

And more than $192 billion in homeowner wealth was lost nationally last year, the new analysis shows.

Communities of color in Chicago saw more foreclosures and lost wealth per household compared to other communities.

In 2012, the average Chicago household in zip codes with the highest concentration of people of color lost $3,700 in wealth, the “Wasted Wealth” (PDF) report found.

In comparison, the average wealth lost in segregated white communities was about $1,300 per household.

“Seeing this loss of wealth per household is profound," said the Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, president of IIRON, which also worked on the release of the report. "People of color in Chicago, whose majority equity holdings remain in real estate, have been particularly affected by the crisis.” 

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
1:11pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Online Retailers May Soon Lose 'Unfair Advantage' As Marketplace Fairness Act Heads To House, Proponents Say

The U.S. Senate voted to approve the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would require online retailers to comply with sales tax laws of states where they sell and ship goods. According to proponents of the measure, Internet shoppers are one step closer to losing the “unfair advantage” over consumers who choose to support local merchants. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the bill and what it could mean for the Prairie State.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
5:07pm
Tue Apr 2, 2013

Major Infrastructure Needs Along Mississippi & Illinois Rivers Prompt Bipartisan Legislation

Outdated and deteriorating locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have contributed to a backlog of projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), amounting to $60 billion in unfunded, but necessary, upgrades. Prompted by this statistic, Illinois congressional delegates sponsored bipartisan legislation earlier this month that would encourage private investment in improving the nation’s water infrastructure.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:02pm
Fri Mar 29, 2013

Amendments Attached To Senate Budget Resolution Upset Environmental Advocates

Environmental advocacy groups are speaking out against “anti-environment” amendments attached to the Senate’s budget resolution. Although the amendments are non-binding, a representative from Environment Illinois said it’s “unfortunate” to see some lawmakers use a budget proposal for “reckless attacks” on the environment.

“It’s not right to see senators taking the opportunity, during the proposal of a budget resolution, to attack the environment,” said Seth Berkman, federal field associate for Environment Illinois. “These amendments have nothing to do with passing a budget resolution. Unfortunately, our opponents use any opportunity they have to attack environmental protections.”

Pages